New mobile operator Just Mobile launches – broadband planned

21 Oct 2010

A new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) called Just Mobile has entered the marketplace and intends to sell flexible pre-pay services to consumers through a network of 650 Spar, Spar Express, EuroSpar, Mace and XL outlets in 500 towns across Ireland.

It seems we are entering a new chapter in the mobile history of Ireland, one where we could be faced with less actual mobile operators but a multitude of MVNOs targeting specific market niches.

The new company, Just Mobile, will be creating 25 new jobs today and an additional 70 new jobs over the next two years.

Just Mobile has struck a wholesale deal with Vodafone to sell pre-pay services to consumers and has also struck a deal with BWG Foods to sell mobile minutes and texts through its vast store network.

“If you think about it, the food shopping is your next biggest bill after electricity,” said Donal Lawless of Just Mobile. “So it makes sense for people to buy their communications in places that are convenient to them instead of waiting until the weekend to go to some shopping centre.”

Just Mobile also told Siliconrepublic that it plans to serve mobile broadband packages to consumers from November.

The company is launching an attack on the ‘free credit’ and ‘unlimited’ price plans offered by rival mobile operators and instead has introduced more flexible packages where users, instead of paying fixed amounts like €20 for a top-up, can buy what credit they need depending on what they are willing to pay.

The company is offering a 20-cent-per-minute flat rate per call and 9 cent per text. Voice mail is free and according to Stewart Kelly of Just Mobile, the company is giving 1 cent of every minute of every call to each user’s charity of choice.

Around 70pc of Irish pre-paid mobile customers – or 2.5 million people – top up in €5 and €10 amounts and are unable to avail of such incentives. Just Mobile will not discriminate against customers who buy smaller topups. Just Mobile has priced topups at €4, €9, €13 and €18, meaning Just Mobile customers can leave the shop with change in their pockets. Topups are available at any ‘top-up’ point in Ireland and all topups offer the same pricing and rates.

“We are working with over 35 charities and 1,600 people so far have nominated charities of choice. We estimate that in our first year at least €250,000 will be raised for charities around Ireland,” Kelly said.

Charities involved include Cari Down Syndrome Ireland, Focus Ireland, Irish Autism Action, The Irish Wheelchair Association, The Jack & Jill Foundation and The 3T’s.

Just Mobile is chaired by telecoms entrepreneur, Sean Melly, chairman of Powerscourt Capital Partners. Powerscourt is also an investor in Just Mobile.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years